Backcountry airstrips in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada could be eliminated should a federal resource management plan go through. At issue is the Arizona Strip, a remote area that encompasses about five million acres of wilderness in the three states. The draft plan states that only six "authorized" airstrips will continue to be managed. However, there are at least 10 popular backcountry airstrips that are not listed as "authorized," meaning they are in danger of being eliminated. AOPA has been a longtime advocate for the protection of backcountry airports and has led efforts to help federal agencies recognize the critical value of these airports for both safety and remote area access. The comment period for the Arizona Strip Draft Plan ends March 17. The Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service will then review all public comments before implementing a final plan. AOPA urges all pilots interested in preserving these unique backcountry airstrips to submit their comments for consideration. Comments may be submitted via e-mail or faxed to 435/688-3388. Written comments may be mailed to: Planning Team, Arizona Strip District, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, UT 84790.
March 10, 2006